The Jewish Economic Crisis in Poland and the Ica

The economic crisis in Poland is affecting the entire Jewish social activity there, the headquarters office of the Jewish Colonisation Association (Ica) is informed from Warsaw. The professional schools which are under the supervision of the Ica see their receipts dwindling; the parents of the pupils are unable to pay the school fees, the subventions promised by the municipalities and the Jewish communities are difficult to obtain, and donations are almost unknown now.

In spite of this really desperate situation, the schools are not breaking off their activity; some are even endeavouring to expand. The school at Lodz, for instance, has started on the construction of an iron foundry, and the school at Bialystock is now completing the installation of its electrotechnical laboratory. The evening courses for apprentices conducted in private workshops are generally in a better financial position than the professional schools. The subventions of the Ica cover about 60 per cent, of their budget and this enables them to weather the crisis without much difficulty. The Ica is now establishing a new preparetory course in Lodz for Jewish foremen to enable them, in conformity with the law, to present themselves for their examinations to obtain the right of continuing to work at their trades.

In spite of the general economic depression, which reveals itself in agriculture in the very low prices obtained for all kinds of agricultural products, the greater part of the Jewish colonists assisted by the Ica find themselves less affected by it than was at first thought. In fact, the good harvest of this year, enabled them by selling big quantities to recoup themselves in that way for the losses which they suffered on account of the low prices. Their position is, therefore, much better than that of the village population. A certain advance has been noticeable recently in the market for agricultural products.

In those districts where the Ica has not been long at work the position is altogether different. The Jewish agriculturists there are poor, the quality of their produce is much inferior to that of the old districts. Following the visits of inspection made to 25 of these new places by the Ica’s agronomists, the Central Direction of the Ica has covered the credits necessary to meet their more urgent needs.

Mention should be made of the bee-breeding activity introduced by the Ica recently among the Jewish agriculturists in Eastern Poland. This industry is expanding wonderfully. The colonists, who at first regarded it with distrust, are now beginning to appreciate its results and its rapid development. Over a hundred farms are already provided with hives; another 400 hives are being put in, and the work is going on.

As in previous years, the agronomist service of the Ica has taken measures to provide the Jewish colonists with vegetable seeds and forage plants of the best foreign varieties. It has made some very important purchases, particularly in Holland, and thanks to this enterprise those concerned have been able to obtain the seeds at a price less in than half of that obtaining in the trade.

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